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COVID-19 Morning Report

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Florida Department of Health

State health officials reported 5,556 new COVID-19 cases, Wednesday, for a total of 2,096,747 infections. The Florida Department of Health also reported 70 coronavirus-related deaths, April 7, increasing the statewide death toll to 34,476 fatalities since the beginning of the pandemic.

The latest single-day positivity rate reported by the Florida Division of Emergency Management dropped to 8.1% on Tuesday. Over the past two weeks the single-day positivity rate has ranged between 6.9% and 10.1%.

The Agency for Health Care Administration reports that as of this morning the number of patients with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 admitted to hospitals throughout the state has increased to 2,992 patients. Hospitals in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hendry, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota counties combined have a total of 215 admitted patients with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19.

Lee Health reported Wednesday afternoon that 100 patients were being treated for COVID-19 throughout the health system's hospitals. That's up from 82 patients a week ago. Currently 65% of Lee Health's ventilator capacity and 4% of ICU rooms are available. The health system reports having 11 COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 18 COVID-19 patients in intensive care.

As of Wednesday morning, the Florida Division of Emergency Management reported more than 6.6 million (6,630,107) people have been vaccinated including more than 2.7 million (2,715,857) people who have received a first dose, and more than 3.9 million (3,914,250) who have completed the series, including 332,300 people who have received the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Lee County COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Site Moves to Edison Mall

Beginning next week, Lee county's COVID-19 vaccine clinic site near the Southwest Florida International Airport will be relocated to the former Sears location at the Edison Mall at 4125 Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers 33901.

Vaccine distribution will begin at the new location Monday, April 12.

According to a news release from the county, the change in location will allow for vaccinations to take place at a fully-climate controlled venue as we move toward summer when temperatures, humidity and thunderstorms increase.

The new location is also strategically located along existing public transportation routes and is more centrally located. For more information visit leegov.com/vaccine.

Sarasota To Begin Walk-In COVID-19 Vaccine Shots Friday

Starting Friday, April 9, Sarasota County will begin allowing any eligible resident to receive a COVID-19 vaccine without an appointment.

Walk up vaccine availability at the Sarasota Square Mall clinic site will run Friday and Saturday and then be available weekdays beginning April 12.

Also, on Monday at 5:00 p.m., the county's appointment system will cease taking new registrations, although those in the system will still be able to take appointments that will allow them to bypass the walk-in line.

The Herald Tribune reports, health officer with the state health department in Sarasota County, Chuck Henry told county commissioners Wednesday, that the reason for the change is that the county now has more vaccine doses available then people in the registry.

DeSantis Received COVID-19 Vaccine Privately

Governor Ron DeSantis' office confirmed, Wednesday, that the governor has received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The AP reports, DeSantis was inoculated last week out of the public eye, even as governors of other states across the country and across the political spectrum have been vaccinated publicly, in an effort to combat vaccine hesitancy and reassure Americans that the shots are safe.

Conversely, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Florida's only statewide elected Democrat, became the first cabinet member to be publicly vaccinated last week. She chose a testing site at Florida's largest historically Black University, Florida A&M, in order to draw attention to the ongoing problem of too few people of color being vaccinated in the state.

Florida Begins Coronavirus Vaccinations For State Prisoners

Florida is starting to provide coronavirus vaccines to state prisoners.

The Department of Health and Division of Emergency Management expect to offer enough doses within two weeks for every staff member and inmate who wants a shot.

The pandemic has hit Florida prisons hard. They’ve had nearly 18,000 positive tests among inmates – which would amount to about 22 percent of the current prison population. And 213 inmates have died.

But getting prisoners vaccinated has not been a priority.

Finally, as vaccinations have opened up for all adults in Florida, the state is starting to immunize its prisoners.

Florida Department of Corrections officials say medical workers have visited each dormitory to educate inmates about the vaccine.

About 33,000 inmates — or 41 percent — have indicated they want it.

So the Department of Health has allocated 33,000 doses for state-run prisons.

Seven prisons operated by private companies are also receiving vaccines. Three of those have already scheduled vaccinations for inmates and staff.

Norwegian Cruise Line Will Require COVID-19 Vaccinations For All On Board

People looking to set sail with Norwegian Cruise Line this summer will need to get a COVID-19 vaccination first. The major cruise company plans to raise anchors by July 4.

The cruise line announced this week that all passengers and crew members must show proof that they are fully vaccinated before going on board.

The federal government released new guidelines, April 2, on how to safely restart cruises in the midst of the pandemic. To resume travel, local port and health authorities must approve cruise lines' COVID-19 safety measures including vaccination requirements.

The requirement for COVID-19 inoculation clashes with state orders issued last week.

Governor Ron DeSantis banned businesses from requiring customers to show proof of vaccination.

Broward Health Offers Therapy Cocktail For Mild COVID-19 Cases

Broward Health now has a treatment for COVID-19 that’s a combination of therapies like a cocktail treatment.

The infusion is made of two Eli Lilly neutralizing antibody drugs. It takes less than an hour in an outpatient setting. Patients need to have only mild to moderate symptoms like a cough or a low-grade fever.

Broward Health’s Dr. Aldo Calvo, DO, said the state and federal governments are providing the therapies.

“The burden of having COVID-19 is enough, right, to have the anxiety levels reach sky high proportions. We're not charging anything, so this has already been paid for. Those individuals will get treatments so long as they meet criteria,” said Calvo.

Uninsured people won’t have to pay. People with coverage will have a facility fee charged to their insurance provider. Patients must have a positive COVID-19 diagnosis within 10 days, weigh at least 88 pounds and be at least 12 years old.

For those who qualify, a doctor or a nurse practitioner will need to make the referral.

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